Bob’s Big Boy Burgers and “Secret Sauce”

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I’ll start off by saying first and foremost, this is not a normal meal in my house! It’s a decadent treat I allow myself maybe 2 or 3 times per year!  Being a Weight Watcher and heart patient, I do really try and watch my intake of fatty, cholesterol-laden foods!  But once in a while, it just tastes SOOOO good!

My History with the “Manner’s Big Boy”

Long before it was known as Bob’s Big Boy, the local Cleveland-area franchises were known as Manner’s Big Boy, and started in the mid-1950s. I remember what a treat it was when mom and dad took me to Manner’s for a Big Boy burger, slathered in that delicious white tartery-sauce. We always got “extra cups of sauce” to smother our french fries in and even added more to the burgers!

Over the years the restaurant chain changed names. In Michigan they didn’t even use the white sauce, but instead had an orange sauce that resembled more of a Big Mac-type sauce with ketchup in it. NOT THE SAME!

Slowly, the number of Big Boy restaurants started to fade away and now there is only 2 left in the Cleveland area. I found myself stopping at a Big Boy restaurant a few times a year though because I loved the sauce so much and could never figure out how to make it.  UNTIL RECENTLY!

One day about a year ago, I had a craving, but didn’t have the energy to drive to the west side for a burger. I started scouring the internet to see if there was a copycat Big Boy Sauce recipe out there and wouldn’t you know…. there was!

To my delight, I made it. I had to run up to the grocery store to buy the dill pickle relish but I had everything else on hand. I followed the recipe to the “t” and it sure tasted pretty similar to the classic sauce at the restaurant.

We had friends over last night for a cookout and pool party and I wasn’t in the mood for cooking up some fancy meal. I thought burgers would be great but wanted to do something a bit different – so, I cooked up 6 Big Boy burgers, complete with the double decker buns!

Double decker buns are not easy to find so I improvised. I bought several packages of sesame seed buns because I would need to use two “bottom buns” for each burger, turning one of them into the “middle bun”.

When I first got home I tried to slice the bottom crust off a bottom bun so it would resemble and taste more like the middle bun but it was not easy. Desperate for a solution, I then had an epiphany! FREEZE THEM FOR A WHILE!

I was making burgers for 6, which ultimately required 12 buns… 6 tops, 12 bottoms. I put 6 of the bottom buns in the freezer for about an hour which made slicing the bottom crust off a lot easier.

To cut down on some of the calories, I served them with roasted sweet potato fries and homemade cole slaw.

And the next day, I went on a 5-mile run and ate a vegetarian all day! Everything in moderation! 🙂

ONE SIDE NOTE:  I’ll be honest, I personally think it tastes more like the restaurant burger if you cook them indoors in a skillet versus on the grill, simply because they were cooked that way in the restaurant, but either way is excellent.

Boy's Big Boy Burgers - with "Secret Sauce"

I finally figured out how to make the special sauce that makes Big Boy burgers so delicious!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Sauce & Freeze Bottom Buns 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Beef, Dinner, Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Double decker burgers

Ingredients
  

SECRET SAUCE

  • 1 c Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Dill pickle relish (drained)
  • 2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
  • Dash Onion powder
  • Dash Paprika
  • Dash Garlic powder

BURGERS

  • 2 pounds Ground beef (Mix of 80% and 85% is what I used)
  • 8 Sesame seed burger buns (You need two "bottom buns" for each burger)
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 1/2 cup Lettuce (Iceberg, shredded)
  • 1/4 cup Onions (Chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Dill pickle slices

Instructions
 

SECRET SAUCE

  • Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (or more) until ready to serve.

BURGERS

  • Freeze as many bottom buns as you are making burgers. These will become the "middle bun" (if you can't find double decker buns).
  • Mix ground beef with a little salt and pepper and form into patties. Cover and chill.
  • Chop onions and slice iceberg, and pickles. Prepare cheese.
  • After "middle buns" are slightly frozen, using a serrated bread knife, carefully thinly slice the bottom crust off to make it a"middle bun".
  • Toast the buns on the grill or under a broiler. Remember to flip the middle bun to get it toasted on both sides.
  • Cook burgers.
  • Assemble burgers placing a bit of sauce on the bottom bun and middle bun.
  • Add burgers on each bun with one of them having a slice of cheese on it.
  • Add lettuce, onions and pickles, and more sauce on the top burger.

Notes

ONE SIDE NOTE:  I'll be honest, I personally think it tastes more like the restaurant burger if you cook them indoors in a skillet versus on the grill, simply because they were cooked that way in the restaurant, but either way is excellent.
The sauce will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. It's not healthy, but for a decadent splurge "once in a while", it's a fun variation on a regular burger!
Adam LapsevichBob’s Big Boy Burgers and “Secret Sauce”
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Flank Steak – An Amazing Marinade

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As a Weight Watcher, I try to keep my daily food intake within my points range…. but sometimes, I just have to have a steak! I’m not a big red meat eater, so when I do indulge, it has to be something that I really, really enjoy. My favorite cut of beef is a flank steak, and I was given a secret marinade years ago by a former colleague of mine who is also a food connoisseur.

Back in the mid-2000’s, a colleague of mine from my days working for Seabourn Cruise Line was visiting me from Dallas. Of course, being a Texan, she knows a little about beef! She taught me a few tricks to cooking beef, including how to make a classic pan-seared filet mignon, French style in a cast iron skillet (recipe one day soon)…. but more importantly, was how to prepare the perfect flank steak and marinade.

OMG – it is so delicious, you’ll be licking the plate for all the remaining juices! And, the best part, it’s so simple.

I serve flank steak as a standalone meat with a variety of sides, including just veggies, or potatoes, and sometimes even an olive oil and pepper pasta dish. It’s delicious on salads, or in burritos, tacos or tortillas, as well as a variety of Asian dishes.

The key, in my opinion, is the temperature. I know many people like their beef overly cooked, but medium-rare is the bomb. A little pinkish-red brings out flavor so much better than a dried shoe-leather steak, but I digress. That’s up to you!

The first thing when making it is to score it with criss-cross cuts on both sides. Rub a few cloves or garlic in the scores and pour soy sauce on top. Not too much, otherwise it will be too salty.

Rub lots of freshly ground black pepper and squeeze a lemon over it all. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Remove the meat and allow to get warmed up to room temperature for about 10 minutes while you’re heating your grill or cast iron skillet up. Then sear it baby!

See the whole recipe below. Slice it thinly on an angle for wide, thin pieces.

I make zillions of salads so here I just added it to a salad with grilled romaine, corn, and veggies, and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a touch of freshly squeezed lemon.  OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

Flank Steak

A delicious marinade and recipe for flank steak.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinate in refrigerator 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Beef, Main Course
Cuisine American, Dinner, Lunch
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1-2 Pound Flank Steak
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic Pressed
  • 1/2 Lemon (Juiced)
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Score flank steak on the diagonal, criss cross, both sides, with a sharp knife
  • Press 2 cloves of garlic into the scores on each side
  • Add fresh ground pepper to both sides
  • Juice the lemon onto both sides
  • Cover with wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove from refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before cooking. Preheat grill on high, or cast iron skillet if cooking inside. (Cast iron requires a bit of olive oil in the pan).
  • Cook on each side for at least 5 minutes before turning. It's delicious when there is a slight char to the meat.
  • Cook to desired temperature. Medium-rare is preferred with a slight pinkness to the meat.
  • Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Cut the meat thinly on a slight angle. I find it's easy to slice the meat vertically (down the center) into 2 long pieces, especially if the steak is fairly wide. This way you can wrap any unused portions that aren't sliced, which prevents the meat from drying out when reheating it.
  • Serve on a salad, standalone with side, in tortilla... however you want!
Adam LapsevichFlank Steak – An Amazing Marinade
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Gazpacho – Fresh and Delicious

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The first time I ever ate gazpacho, I was working as a waiter in Washington DC back in the mid-80s. I loved the refreshing flavors of the fresh vegetables, especially the cucumber, and the boldness of the tomato base.

I’ve been making it for years from scratch using whole tomatoes from a can, but find a delicious workaround using a scrumptious locally-produced Bloody Mary mix, from Pope’s.

Pope’s makes a variety of delicious products and are based in Shaker Heights. While I never met the owner, I know he was part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program as I was with my company. Check out their website at www.popeskitchen.com. If you’re not local to Cleveland, you can order it online.

I would highly recommend the “Traditional Recipe” Bloody Mary Mix for Gazpacho, as they do make spicier recipes as well. I find that if it’s too spicy, I don’t taste the coolness of the cucumbers as much. I know Pope’s is available in Heinen’s, as well as the Wine Reserve in Bainbridge. I’m not certain if Giant Eagle carries it. If you find out they do, leave a comment!

Anyway, give it a whirl. I’m sure other Bloody Mary mixes will work too, I’m just a fan of Pope’s!

Make a batch of this refreshing gazpacho before summer is over! Considering it’s all veggies, the only WW Points are from the olive oil, which would be basically 1-2 points max per serving, if that!

Enjoy!

Gazpacho

A super-quick way to make a delicious homemade chilled gazpacho.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine Lunch
Servings 2 bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 29oz can Whole tomatoes (slightly mashed with potato masher)
  • 1 cup Pope's Bloody Mary Mix (Traditional Recipe, or other mix you prefer)
  • 1/2 Cucumber (Diced)
  • 1/2 small Onion (Diced)
  • 1/4 Green or red pepper (Diced)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Pressed)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, pour a can of whole tomatoes and smash with a masher, releasing the juices. Mash, but keep chucky too.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl and blend
  • Chill and serve
Adam LapsevichGazpacho – Fresh and Delicious
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The Best Chipotle Salsa in the World

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I’m going to share a secret that I’ve been saving since 1995.

I moved back to Cleveland in 1994, after having spent the previous 12 years in Washington DC and Miami. I went back to school and got a job waiting tables at Morton’s Steakhouse at Tower City.

A gal that worked there with me brought in this homemade salsa one evening when I was working for the staff to munch on. I still remember that first taste. It was the best freaking salsa I had in my entire life… and I’ve been to a lot of places in Mexico and Latin America over the years. I practically drank it. That night she gave me the recipe and I’ve been making it ever since.

Every time I make it for a party, it’s a hit. It’s not that it’s some colossal secret or anything, but I never really shared it, until now!  Follow my instructions exactly and you will never buy store bought salsa again. It take literally 10 minutes to make it, from opening your pantry to cleaning the food processor.

I show it here with some of my other homemade salsas… but we’ll save those for another post!

You can say “gracias” to me in the comments! (and by the way, it’s 0 WW Points!)

Best Chipotle Salsa Ever!

I've served this recipe since 1995 and it is ALWAYS a huge hit. It's super easy to make and tastes so fresh.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Sauces
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 Cups (or more)

Equipment

  • Food processor or Ninja Chopper (or blender)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can Whole tomatoes
  • 1 Dried Chipotle pepper (Softened in warm water)
  • 1 tbsp Whole cumin seeds (Toasted)
  • 1 handful Cilantro
  • 1/4 Purple onion (Small)
  • 3-4 Scallions
  • 1 tsp Salt and Pepper each

Instructions
 

  • Place chipotle pepper in coffee mug filled with water and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until it softens up. Set aside.
  • In a frying pan, toast the cumin seeds until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Shake and toss so they do not burn.
  • Add all of the other ingredients to a food processor, and then add the cumin seeds and chipotle pepper. Blend until it becomes a salsa texture, 30 seconds. Make sure the chipotle pepper has blended in.
  • Chill. Will keep for 2-3 days in refrigerator.
Keyword Best Salsa, Chipolte Salsa
Adam LapsevichThe Best Chipotle Salsa in the World
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